December 28th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama closely monitoring Gaza, adviser says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Barack Obama's approach to the Middle East as president will be the subject of much scrutiny."]

(CNN) - The president-elect's senior adviser said that while Barack Obama is monitoring the situation in Gaza closely, "the fact is that there is only one president at a time."

"There's only one president who can speak for America at a time. And that president now is George Bush," senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Israeli airstrikes continued pounding targets in Hamas-ruled Gaza on Sunday, in what Israel said was a response to escalating rocket attacks against southern Israel.

The fighting ignited eight days after a six-month Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Hamas and Israel expired.

Palestinian security sources said Sunday that at least 277 people had been killed and hundreds wounded.

Obama spoke with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday about the violence in Gaza, two transition aides told CNN.

Asked whether Obama takes on a passive role when talking to Rice, Axelrod said, "I would hardly describe him as passive."

"I think they have a good working relationship. And there's a - I think the calls are largely in the area of fact-finding for him," he said.

"But I think he wants to get a handle on the situation, so that, when he becomes president on January 20, he has the advantage of all the facts and information leading up to that point."

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soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Proud American

    Now that's what I call a leader, but the way where is the idiot sitting president?

    December 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. carol

    My hope is that PE Obama will have a different mind set in regard to dealing with this Israeli/Palestine conflict that what we have now.
    I think our constant siding with Israel over anything they do against the Palestine people sends the wrong message and I don't know how that can ever put us in a good light as "honest brokers" in this situation, he said he will talk to "our enemies" as well as friends so I hope that will be the case here.
    We can't dismiss talking to Hamas, after all they are the chosen leaders of Palestine whether we or Israel like it or not.....we can't just keep saying they are "terrorists", they have a right to be heard also....talks were held with the IRA by the UK and talks were held with Gen Gadaffi from Libya and both of those were known as "terrorists".
    So the time has come for us to be bold enough to speak to Hamas and the Israeli side in a fair and balanced way to try and resolve this ongoing issue!!

    December 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. B.O.FAN

    This Hamas militant group in Gaza are crazy, stupid and stubborn. They are kiling their own people by attacking the Israelis because they know Israel will retaliate because they always do and the one that will pay most price is themselfs.
    I just don't get it. They always want to get what they want through violence and war and they've been doing this unsuccessfully for decades now. They are INSANE. Doing the same thing over and over and somehow expect different result.
    Far for becoming slaves of isrealis they need to recognize their own millitary limitations vis a vis of Israel and adopt a different strategy which is NEGOCIATIONS.

    December 28, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  4. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    If Israel would end the inhumanitarian apartheid for the Palestinians which Jimmy Carter took so much flack for accurately describing, the progress to a permanent two-state solution would be much advanced.

    December 28, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Ralph

    Wow! This will really test Obama's courage. The Isrealis continue to illegally occupy Palestinian land and slaughter mounds of innocent people. They continue to do more than push the envelope. They shed it. All of this craziness about terrorists is absurd. Check the history of the land takeover and the original terrorists. The Isrealis should be ashamed of themselves, and the American people need to decide to be more than surface scratchers. What is happening in the Middle East is beyond incredible. The world needs to wake up!!!

    December 28, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. rollicky

    It's time to provide the same support for the Palestine peoples as have the jews, with monies not controlled by the jews, same armament that have provided the terrorist individuals that run isreal on lands stolen from the arab peoples.

    December 28, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. rollicky

    As a military person have great need to provide same support for the Palestine peoples as do for jews, monies(uncontrol by jews), armament. public support in United Nations, etc. Remember, the individuals that run Isreal are the same individuals that have roamed this world killing, kidnapping, etc. all in the name of justice as well as providing false information to the United States on Middleeast to farther their causes.

    December 28, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  8. change will be soon

    God Bless Israel.

    December 28, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. B.O.FAN

    How can you try to fight somebody that is 100 times stronger millitary well organized and have more support than you. It's a succide.
    I hope ALLAH talk to the stupid Hamas leaders to give up on force and recognize the existence of Israel even though a land is been "stolen from them to create Israel". Life usually is unfair and you've got to accept certain things even if you don't like it.
    If they really believe in GOD they should negotiate and let GOD punish the oppressor.
    Hamas should ask Hitler if it is possible to beat a coallition of nations despite his millitary strength then.

    December 28, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. No Hillary = No Obama

    Closely monitoring? Looks to me like another George Bush who was closely monitoring Katrina as he vacationed in Crawford Texas. How can you closely monitor a situation while playing golf, eating ice cream, shaking hands and having no electrical power? Oh the spin we can expect from this Obama PR machine!

    December 28, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  11. Sanity has Returned

    There are wrongs being committed on both sides of this issue. There needs to be a two state solution, to be initiated by strong leadership, not surrogates. If President Jimmy Carter could broker a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel which still stands to this day, we can do it again. Isn't this what our Presidents use Camp David for or is it closed for business?

    December 28, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  12. Toby in Illinois

    Let me get this straight. Extremists in Georgia attacked Russians; Russians reacted disproportionately, devastating parts of Georgia; and we said the Russians are evil. Extremists in Gaza attacked Israelis; Israelis reacted disproportionately, devastating parts of Gaza; and we said the Israelis are good. So whatever our friends do is good, and whatever our enemies do is evil, even as they do the same thing. That's what S.I. Hayakawa used to call "two-valued orientation," and it is the mark of small minds.

    December 28, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Larry in Houston

    I Totally agree w/ Ralph on this.....Why are the Jewish people wanting all of the ARAB Territories ??

    Bethlehem & places such as Ramallah once were Palistinian
    Territories, or it was once Palistine.......

    Why don't they give it back to them, and give them their STATE BACK ?

    Then there would not be any trouble, and everything would be settled....

    Larry in Houston Texas

    December 28, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. happy new year

    let's let them fight their own wars.

    December 28, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Me

    One name: Rahm Emanual. The guy used to be in the Israeli Defence Forces, now he's Obama's Chief of staff!!!! How incredibly obvious is that! Israel is continually tightening its grip on American politics. AIPAC will be pushing Obama to be as pro-Israel and anti arab as possible. Obama has a very tough fight ahead of him, i only hope he hasn't forgotten his roots as a community activist and can still see injustice when it happens.

    December 28, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. TCM

    Let's hope he monitiors the situation more closely than he did the illegal campaign contributions, Emanuel's covert conversations with Gov Rod...and all the other things he's shown a great deal of inept attention to detail and incompetence toward.....yeah, I feel safe now, knowing that someone with a radical anti-american, anti-white background will be at the helm!

    December 28, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. WIlly Brown

    My bet is he's wondering which of the 57 states it is.

    December 28, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    We haven't had a president in 8 years but thank God we'll have one January 20th, 2009.

    December 28, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Ravi in MO

    We the United States must stand with Israel 100% of the way. Israel has a right to exist, and that land is Jewish land. The terrorists (Palestinians) need to respect Israel. Until they do, Israel should continue to use its full might to defend itself.

    December 28, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. peakarack

    Wow! Barack Hussein Obama needed 2 know more the facts. lmfao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 28, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. yellow dog democrat

    I believe that Obama is putting all the cards on the table and looking at the facts – this will not be business as usual.....It will be historic change in this area of the world.

    Obama is a quick learner and has great advisors around him and history to back him up.

    Change for here and Change for there.

    December 28, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. S Callahan

    What i see is a country who turned the cheek twenty or so times and said 'please stop' and the other kid refused to what is one to do?
    I hate war..I hate the loss of life for any country and my soul just cringes at the thought of a child, any child, enduring the sights and sounds of war.
    When will the world grow up?

    December 28, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  23. Amber

    If obama stepped in to this fray inany kind of way, you right wing nut jobs would be screaming coup d'├ętat faster than you could say "one president at a time".

    December 29, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
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